In the past several weeks, many of you have voiced support and concern for the 2009 Batesville School Referendum Project. I would like to share several facts with you before you cast your vote on Nov. 3, 2009.
The Batesville project is estimated to cost $28 million over 20 years. Based on a new Indiana law that came into effect in 2008, any school improvement project over $10 million must be approved by a majority of voters. In order to secure building details for the project, go to www.yesforabcs.com and click on Project Scope.
In 2009 the state assumed financial responsibility for 100 percent of the costs of operating schools. Prior to that time the state paid for roughly 80 percent of the cost of operating schools and local property taxpayers paid the remaining costs. The formula used by the state to distribute funds to schools is based on enrollments and takes into account the number of students in each school corporation that may be at risk for poor performance due to poverty or other circumstances. For this reason the amount of dollars allocated per child varies significantly from relatively poorer school districts to wealthier districts. Based on the school formula passed by the General Assembly, Batesville will receive $6,053 per student in calendar year 2010 and $5,931 in calendar year 2011. Although state funding per student actually increases in 2011, the total funding drops slightly as special federal stimulus funds will be exhausted. The governor has the authority to withhold payments to schools if necessary due to continued drops in state revenues caused by the national recession. In this last quarter, the state collected $254 million less in revenue than what was expected. About one half of the state budget goes to K-12 education.
The general assembly has changed the method for assessing property. In some cases, homes in a slow economy may have a higher assessed valuation than the actual market value. Farmers will be experiencing an increase in the base rate used to calculate the assessed value of farmland. This value was $880 per acre in 2006, and will increase to $1690 per acre by 2011 based on the new formula used by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. This is nearly a doubling of the farmland assessed valuation used to calculate property taxes in a five year period.
The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance estimates that the initial increase in the tax rate will be 23 cents per $100 of taxable assessed valuation, and then will increase to a maximum of 44 cents per $100 of taxable assessed valuation by 2019. You can check your current assessed valuation and subtract your exemptions, and then attempt to calculate your increase in tax. A home with a $100,000 taxable assessed valuation would see an initial increase of $230 - increasing to $440 by 2019.
Since the Capital Project Referendum was implemented, 17 referendums have been voted on since Nov. 4, 2008. Thirteen have been defeated. Four passed last November before the downturn of the economy.
State mandatory full-day kindergarten is not likely to be implemented in the near term because of declining state revenue.
Increasing unemployment rates in our area will likely slow the growth in population.
We all should be very proud of our Batesville School Corporation. The fact that the school is rated in the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce's Top 10 Best Value Schools indicates that we are blessed with a dedicated group of educators and caring parents.
Please, take the time on Nov. 3, 2009 to cast your vote if you reside in the Batesville School District. If you live in Franklin County, vote at your regular polling place. If you are a Ripley County resident, you will be voting at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Batesville.
Thank you for allowing me to provide you with this information.
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